Genoa revisits Lisetta Carmi's most famous series for the 100th anniversary of her birth

From October 23, 2024 to March 23, 2025, Palazzo Ducale in Genoa celebrates 100 years since Lisetta Carmi's birth with an exhibition featuring a selection of photos and works from the 1970s.

From Oct. 23, 2024 to March 23, 2025 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lisetta Carmi (Genoa, 1924 - Cisternino, 2022), Palazzo Ducale in Genoa presents the exhibition Lisetta Carmi, Very Near Incredibly Far by the Genoese artist and photographer. The exhibition is curated by Giovanni Battista Martini, photography expert and curator of the Lisetta Carmi archive, and is promoted and organized by Palazzo Ducale Fondazione per la Cultura Genova and Civita Mostre e Musei. It is a journey that starts from Genoa and Italy to recount distant realities and changing worlds through her gaze, with never-before-seen color images flanking her most famous black-and-white series. On display are images from the series of transvestites from the 1960s, published in 1972, and the unpublished series eroticism and authoritarianism in Staglieno, in which the famous Genoese cemetery is transformed under the photographer’s lens into a portrait of the eroticism associated with funerary monuments. Genoa emerges with the tale of the working world in the famous images of the port and Italsider but also those of the Anagrafe and aspects of the city’s cultural and social life.

Lisetta Carmi, Genoa, I travestiti, 1965, silver salts print © Martini & Ronchetti, concession Lisetta Carmi archive
Lisetta Carmi, Genova, I travestiti, 1965, silver salts print © Martini & Ronchetti, archive concession Lisetta Carmi

Notes on the artist

Lisetta Carmi was born in Genoa on February 15, 1924, into an affluent middle-class Jewish family. Due to racial laws, she was forced in 1938 to drop out of school and take refuge with her family in Switzerland. In 1945, when the war ended, she returned to Italy and graduated from the Milan Conservatory. In the following years she gave a series of concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Israel. In 1960 he interrupted his concert career and took a casual approach to photography, turning it into a real profession. After making an extensive survey of the port of Genoa in 1964, which later became a traveling exhibition, he continued a reportage on Sardinia that began in 1962 and would end in the 1970s. In 1971 he bought a trullo in Puglia, in Cisternino. On March 12, 1976, he met in Jaipur, India, Babaji Herakhan Baba, the Mahavatar of the Himalayas, an encounter that would radically transform his life. Over the years she produced a series of portraits of artists and cultural figures of the time, including Judith Malina, Joris Ivens, Charles Aznavour, Edoardo Sanguineti, Leonardo Sciascia, Lucio Fontana, César, Carmelo Bene, Luigi Nono, Luigi Dallapiccola, Claudio Abbado, Jacques Lacan and Ezra Pound, whose famous shots taken in 1966 at the poet’s home on the heights of Zoagli in Liguria are remembered. Lisetta Carmi died, or as she would have said, left her earthly body, on July 5, 2022 in Cisternino.

Genoa revisits Lisetta Carmi's most famous series for the 100th anniversary of her birth
Genoa revisits Lisetta Carmi's most famous series for the 100th anniversary of her birth

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